If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 100 times: truth without charity is not truth.
Those who follow me on Twitter know that I get my fair share of inappropriate comments and “hate mail.” On a regular basis, I am called names, sent graphic messages, have my priesthood questioned, and witness my family, friends, or brothers attacked. It is discouraging to say the least.
Especially when you consider that 99% of it comes from fellow Christians, the majority from fellow Catholics.
To be honest, these sorts of comments rarely have a personal effect on me. I understand what I’m dealing with online, that there is plenty of anger and mental illness in our world, and so I can usually ignore it fairly easily. I have learned to utilize the “block” and “mute” features of social media quiet liberally…
But that doesn’t mean that I remain entirely unaffected by the constant stream of hatred. While not hurtful personally, I am often distraught by the effect that people’s words can have on others; I look at the comments towards me, said by Christians, as undermining the wonderful work of evangelization happening in our Church. Why would anyone join a Church where its people talk to each other in this way? It saddens me to see that Christians on the internet act no differently from the rest of the world, that they may, in fact, act worse because of their supposed righteous anger.
This is not good. And it needs to stop.
What I have presented here is an open letter to all Christians. I hope that you may share it with anyone you know who acts rudely or violently online, that it may be a wake-up call to all of us: the world is watching. What do they see when Christians speak to one another? What do they think of Christianity?
I tell you, people will rarely remember what you say to them, but they will never forget how you made them feel. If we are to be evangelizers of Jesus Christ, it doesn’t just matter what we say. How we say it is equally important.
Peace and good to you all.